Discovering Anglesey’s ancient places – Lligwy Part 1

We visited some prehistoric sites in early autumn when we enjoyed a short family break and I reported what we found in an earlier blog post. We returned again to the island this spring with more of the family and decided to find more of Anglesey’s ancient sites.

We visited the village of Lligwy to enjoy the beach and explore its historic ruins. We had high expectations and when we got there we discovered ruins of stone buildings and they were so fantastic they surpassed all our expectations. The ancient site is known as Din Lligwy and was home to romano-british peoples.

As we passed over fields of pasture we spotted an ancient church to our right which we decided to look at on our return journey. Our path climbed slowly uphill until we reached a wood of mixed trees with so much colour underneath provided by wildflowers especially Bluebells and Red Campions. The contrasts of light and shade spotlighted beautiful areas of colour and scent filled the shadows. A group of inquisitive young heifers tried to come with us and they took a lot of dissuasion.

On exiting the woodland we burst out into the light to see an ancient village set out before us, far better preserved than we ever expected. We set off to explore the stone walls and enclosures. The group of buildings were a fortified group of hut circles, including the more impressice chieftain’s hut, which boasted a stone pillared entranceway.


As a family we have always enjoyed exploring such sites together and as this was a family holiday with Jude and I, our daughter and son, son-in-law and daughter-in-law and our granddaughter, we could appreciate this amazing place together. Even our 18month old granddaughter was captivated by the place and explored along side us.


Mother nature added her own sense of mystery to the site by establishing plants on the stones, in cracks and fissures, adding a layer of green.


As we left the village we made our way back towards the lane where we had parked up and walked via the old church. From there we intended to find a cromlech nearby. We will lok at both of these in the follow up post to this.




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Simply Beautiful – No 22 in very occasional series

The Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata, has been appreciated for years both for its beauty and for religious interpretations of its features and structure. In this post I want to share a few photos of the Passionflower vine growing in our greenhouse where it acts as green shading for our tomatoes each summer. We cut it to the ground and it grows to cover one side of the 14 ft greenhouse. It flowers profusely and is a favourite of our garden visitors.

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An adventure to get here – Canwood Gallery

Canwood Gallery in the Herefordshire countryside is found after miles of narrow winding lanes and so is decsribed as “an adventure to find” on its website. We visited this outdoor sculpture gallery after hearing of it from Graham and Vivky, my brother and our sister-in-law.

The driveway led us to a beautifulbrick and timber house wrapped in a garden and fields in beautiful countryside. We started wandering around to the sound of a tractor at work. Apart from that the place was silent. Some sculptural pieces were situated close to the house or even leaned against farm buildings.


An indoor gallery set in an old combine shed held an exhibition called “In the middle of  somewhere.”

Starting our tour of the outdoor exhibition spaces we were attracted to these two corten steel pieces. Follw my mini-gallery to follow me as I walked around the pieces looking through them to the spaces beyond.

Close by two large heads looked over the countryside.

Sometimes we both find odd pieces not to our taste and this one made us feel nothing.

When studying some sculpture pieces it is the detail that attracts, such as with these figures, one in wood the other stone.

Simply titled “The Bull”, this piece created from two finishes of metals was full of strength and movement.

Moving pieces always add interest to a collection of static pieces. This figure moved with the breeze most elegantly, catching the light as it did so. Enjoy my mini-gallery to follow her changing positions.

After being mesmerised by her gentle movements the following pieces appeared strong and static.

From the fields we entered the gardens through a metal gate to enjoy the sculpture standing comfortably among garden plants. Two pieces, “Birds” and “Lady of the Lake” are sharing the water of the pond in front of the cottage.


I will put all my photos of the other sculptures in to gallery for you to enjoy.



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Stone Ruins on Welsh Farm

When we stayed on Anglesey earlier this summer we rented a converted farm cottage which had been amazingly sympathetically modernised. The view from our bedroom balcony looked down over the ruins of pigsties. They added so much to the atmosphere of the place where we were staying. I thought I would share a few photos of this old agricultural building with you. I hope you enjoy them.


In the wall next to our holiday home was this old decommisioned postbox. A pair of Great Tits however had found a new use for the box, creating a nest and laying their eggs in the bed of down.

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Crug Farm – a planthunter’s woodland garden

We had not visited Crug Farm garden and nursery for several years, so taking advantage of our return journey from Anglesey we took a short detour to explore this woodland garden in Snowdonia. Driving into the little car park the yellow and orange poppies, Meconopsis cambrica, gave us a warm welcome.

I will now simply invite you to walk with us along the paths at Crug Farm sharing the atmosphere and the beautifully designed planting schemes, by following my gallery. Just click on the right arrow and navigate through using the arrows.


We left the woodland garden through a gateway that lead to the nursery set within a small walled garden. We enjoyed a walk around studying a large range of plants collected by owners the Bleddyn-Jones’. Of course we bought several to add to our shade borders.

Posted in garden design, garden paths, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, light, light quality, nurseries, ornamental trees and shrubs, pathways, shrubs, Wales, walled gardens, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Dingle Garden in July

Moving into the second half of the year, we wandered around the gravel paths of the Dingle Garden in late July. The day was dry with mixed clear skies with occasional cloud, but no rain came from them.

We immediately discovered the severe effects of this summer’s dry and hot temperatures. A mature conifer was turning shades of purple and brown as it was suffering from lack of water. Although colourful this was devastating for the tree. Elsewhere on the sloping parts of the garden the shrubs looked perfectly healthy and we enjoyed some great foliage contrasts and combinations.


Orange is a wonderfully effective colour for woodland planting, as flowers in this colour glow in the deepest shade and are caught by the sun. Yellow comes a close second!


Flowering shrubs are now coming into their own in the Dingle Garden, with Hydrangeas taking centre stage.


This is just a selection of the Hydrangeas putting on their show of blues, whites and pinks beneath the trees. We loved the variations in colour on individual flower heads.


Ferns look good almost the year through, but in the damp woodland atmosphere here at the Dingle they shone with health.


Herbaceous perennials appear in a few places beneath the trees and shrubs with Geraniums, Hemerocallis, Persicarias and Lysimachias showing well in the July garden.


Sometimes it is the little details that catch the eye when we explore gardens. On this visit to the Dingle Garden Jude was attracted to the moss hitching a lift in the fork of a Prunus. The purple spires of the Acanthus looked just right next to the sculpture of the Red Kite.


The real star of the July show was Cotinus coggygria with its deep red foliage with hints of glaucous blue and the smokey flower clouds.

So we will return next in August and see what late summer brings to the Dingle.

Posted in colours, garden design, garden paths, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, light, light quality, ornamental trees and shrubs, Powis, Powys, shrubs, trees, Wales, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , ,

My Garden Journal 2018 – July

Here is my garden journal entries for the month of July, a month when the garden continued to suffer the effects of the drought.

My opening words were, “July begins as June ended, in a heatwave with temperatures in the upper twenties. And sadly for the garden, still no rain. Rainless time has now lasted for a month and very little for the previous month.”

I featured a set of photos of our Passion flower which grows in our greenhouse.

“We grow our passion-flowers in the greenhouse as we are too cold here for them to survive outside. We train them along the side of the greenhouse  where they can shade our tomato plants. Natural shading!”

On the opposite page I moved on to look at the digitalis we grow here in our Avocet garden.

“We grow so many different foxgloves in our patch, with several grown from seed by Jude. Our native Digitalis purpurea in both its forms of purple and white, enjoying spreading themselves around our borders, deciding for themselves where to settle down. Dan Pearson writes of Digitalis in “National Selection”,

“I like the way vertical lines of foxgloves draw the eye like an exclamation mark. They are delicate, using only as much ground as they need, but providing plenty of bang for your buck with the upward motion.”

Turning over to the next double page spread, I featured photos of a selection of the moths we trapped in our live trap.

“Butterflies and moths have been in short supply so far this year, but both appeared as July arrived. Our first session of live-trapping moths showed how many we had in our garden and how varied they are. We always delight at getting close up to the surreal Elephant Hawk Moths.”

Elephant Hawk Moths


Master of Disguise

These tiny moths are equally fascinating.


A myriad of moths.


The next double page spread features Tulbaghias, Leucanthemum, Helenium and several different Hemerocallis.

“Tulbaghias seem to enjoy the weather, whatever it does. These look great in dappled shade beneath the outer limbs of a Quince tree.”

“Leucanthemum and Helenium catch the light so well. Their shaded petals add extra depth.”


I next featured a whole page of photos of Day Lilies, Hemerocallis.

“In the middle of the month we visited our friend Mark (Zennick) with his wonderfully colourful collection of Hemerocallis. As always we came away with a good selection from his nursery.”

Next we take a look at how the garden is being adversely effected by the dry hot weather, and then I share my paintings of Camassia seed heads.

I wrote, “Another quote from Dan Pearson, upon his return from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands ………”I returned to a wet English summer, where the smells were crisp and clean.” Anyone returning to England this July would be met by golden dried-up lawns, trees with wilting leaves and dead leaves on herbaceous perennials.”

Opposite I used water-based pencil crayons to record the different stages as the flowering stems of Camassias were drying out.

“As well as their beautiful spires of blue, cream or white  flowers, Camassias have lovely green pods which dry slowly to digestive biscuit colours.”

My final page for July in my Garden Journal 2018 show a few plants that seem to thrive in the dry conditions.

“July moved on still without rain and the garden continued to suffer. Flowers bloomed but lasted a very short time. The lawn simply remained brown and stopped growing. A few plants though performed really well.”


Agastache                              Scrophularia


Erigeron and Hebe                                    Clouds of Achilleas

Two deep purple Clematis

As I finished my journal entries for July there was still no sign of any appreciable rainfall, just occasional short-lived showers which hit the ground and evaporated immediately. August will hopefully be kinder to our Avocet garden and its resident plants.

Posted in climbing plants, drought, garden photography, gardening, gardens, hardy perennials, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, South Shropshire | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments